John Corbett, Bo Derek Make Picture-Perfect Team on Actor’s New Album
John Corbett is constantly asked his preference between acting and making music, and the humble entertainer will tell you he’s grateful for both, for different reasons. But when it comes to Hollywood versus Nashville, there’s no contest.
The singer, whose new album, Leaving Nothin’ Behind, hit stores last week, lights up when he talks about Music City, the place to which he travels on his own dime as often as he can, trying to make his musical dreams come true. He relishes the smaller size and slower pace of Nashville, at least when comparing it to Los Angeles, as it reminds him of home — not just home in his native West Virginia, but also his home now in rural California … far away from Tinsel Town, where he has never really had the desire to fit in.
“I’ve been in the Hollywood industry 25 years but here in Nashville just seven years. And at the ASCAP Awards [in Nashville], I knew more people there than at any Hollywood event,” Corbett tells The Boot. “I feel more comfortable in this industry than I do in my first industry. Plus, I don’t like sitting on the freeway going five miles an hour. In my town, the only time my car is stopped is at a light. Nobody’s up my a–! [Laughs]”
The Sex and the City actor and his girlfriend of 11 years, the legendary actress Bo Derek, live on a ranch in southern California. You can catch a glimpse of the property (as well as a cameo from Derek) in the 2006 “Good to Go” music video, from Corbett’s debut album. Derek was a big part of both that project and her beau’s brand-new sophomore album, as she was the official photographer for both. Not only did the iconic beauty shoot the CD covers, but also all of the promotional photos for the projects.
“She’s an awesome photographer. She was married to [the late] John Derek, who was a great photographer, and she learned a lot from him,” Corbett explains, adding that Bo Derek also recently shot a spread for Vanity Fair magazine.
In addition to having his longtime love be such a big part of Leaving Nothin’ Behind, Corbett is one who believes in doing business with friends. His original band is still together, having played more than 600 shows with him.
“We survived,” the singer says, referring to the six-year gap between albums. “I met my guitar player when he was 16. So he’s like my son and my brother. My drummer, my bass player, all those years in all those close quarters, there have never been fights.”
Jon Randall Stewart, who co-produced the new album, is also someone who Corbett counts as a good buddy … and someone he practically gives more credit to than himself when it comes to the new music.
“I originally wanted to make a record of all Jon’s songs, with him producing,” Corbett explains.
Still, Stewart ended up with writing credits on seven of the 10 tracks and contributes background vocals to the project.
“He’s not only my favorite songwriter, hands down, but also has this voice like you’ve never heard,” Corbett gushes of his producer. “His phrasing and the tonality of his voice, it always hits me. Most of his demos, he just sits a Radio Shack tape recorder down and plays guitar, and that’s his demo. You hear buses going by … and he’s singing this beautiful song that brings tears to your eyes.”
Corbett is currently on a hiatus from acting to concentrate on promoting the new music.